Film Review: PARASITE (South Korea 2019) ****

Parasite Poster

All unemployed, Ki-taek’s family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.


Bong Joon Ho (as Joon-ho Bong)


Jin Won Han (screenplay), Bong Joon Ho (screenplay) (as Bong Joon-ho)

From the director of OKJA and SNOWPIERCER, PARASITE has already garnished praise from critics and filmgoers all over the world.  The Winner o the roestgious  Palme d’Or at thisnyear’s Cannes Film Festival.  PARASITE is already abbot-office success in Korea and the wold over.

PARASITE is also a Netflix original movie.  It has a limited run before being going on to Netflix, which means that the ilm will stream for free for Netflix subscribers.  Netflix has made excellent films such as ROMA last year.  There is a slew of excellent Netlfix films coming soon after PARASITE like THE KING and THE IRISHMAN with THE LAUNDROMAT, DOLEMITE just opening.

Half way through the movie, the effectiveness of a plan is discussed.  If one has no plan, then chaplain cannot go wrong and things will work out.  This weird logic is subtle applied to the story of PARASITE where anything can happen and chaos rules.  The result is a sort of ‘wtf’ foreign art film that is as energetic and it is unpredictable.

PARASITE tells the story of two families, one rich and one poor.  The poor one slowly but surely takes over the rich none just as a parasite, hence the film’s title.  This is a vertical story of class struggle — punctuated by staircase scenes going from mouldy basements to top floors, from darkness to breezy spaces designed by star architects. — Parasite observes and dissects with surgical precision the life of two families of different social backgrounds.

The poor family: Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) is a good-for-nothing, unemployed family man, patriarch of a family of derelicts — his wife Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), his clever twenty-something daughter Ki-jung (Park So-dam), and his son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) — who live in an overcrowded, sordid basement. 

The rich family: Parks, on the other hand, live in a fabulous house with their teenage daughter Da-hye and terribly spoiled son Da-song, who has suffered a childhood trauma that occasionally causes him seizures and strange behaviour. When, due to an unexpected stroke of luck, Ki-woo is hired by the Parks to be the private English tutor of Da-hye, the destinies of the two families cross.  Ki-woo gets his mother to be employed as the new housekeeper, not letting the Parks know of their mother/son relationship.  Then he gets the father and sister employed as well, again not disclaim the family relationship.  The parasitic family ate over but not with dire consequences.

The film takes a third of tis running  time for the predictable series of events before director Bong pulls a super punch in his film.  The story takes a wild totally unpredictable twist where the class struggle story turns into a wicked farce.  All the events take place amidst a huge flood take wreck the poor family’s dwelling.

The ending is  a little marred by slow preaching but Bong’s film has at this point already accomplished what he had intended in what is supposed to be an ‘unplanned’ film.